Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Tuesday, February 26, 2019 at 16:22

We can make Plasma desktop to look like macOS. This tutorial uses Mojave-CT Theme Pack (including Aurorae, Plasma, Kvantum, and icon themes) as the I explain here the requirements and step by step instructions to configure everything. It is surprisingly easy, the steps are very clear, but it takes a bit long time to finish them all.

(Plasma desktop 5.15 on GNU/Linux with Mojave-CT Theme Pack)
I hope this tutorial helps everybody to begin desktop customization hobby on GNU/Linux in general and KDE Plasma in particular. Have fun customizing!

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Read also all about KDE: Plasma Oxygen | neon Review | neon for Designers | Plasma 5.11 Review

Result Talks First

Yes, we will achieve final result like these.

(Basic look with top global menu panel, bottom dynamic dock, icons on desktop, and translucent metallic window)

(Bottom dock can be set to autohide)

(Basic look of Dolphin File Manager in this theming scheme)
(Notice the opaque window without any translucency)

(Basic look of Okular PDF Viewer in this theming scheme)
(Notice the black apple logo on top-left, you can add it later by adding Application Menu widget)


This tutorial is based on KDE Plasma 5, neon operating system 5.15.1, which in turn based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. However, you can practice this tutorial as long as you can have these:

A. Install Kvantum Engine

What you will do is to install Kvantum Manager program. It is a simple GUI to control many aspects of Qt toolkits.

First, install all required packages:
$ sudo apt-get install g++ libx11-dev libxext-dev qtbase5-dev 
libqt5svg5-dev libqt5x11extras5-dev libkf5windowsystem-dev 
qttools5-dev-tools cmake

Second, download the Kvantum package (.zip) from Tsujan's GitHub and extract it to your Downloads directory. You will get a new directory name Kvantum-master.

Third, enter the Kvantum-master directory and perform all these command lines one by one:
$ mkdir build && cd build 
$ cmake .. 
$ make 
$ sudo make install
Final messages showing if you successfully installed it are two lines:
[100%] Linking CXX executable kvantummanager
[100%] Built target kvantummanager

Finally, go to start menu and find Kvantum Manager.

(Kvantum Manager program)

B. Install 'Applet Window Button' Widget

The 'AWB' is needed to show control buttons on top panel when a window is maximized. Download AWB at and extract it and you get a directory named applet-window-buttons-0.3. You will find in it a file named but don't touch it before doing these.

First, install all required packages:
$ sudo apt-get install g++ extra-cmake-modules qtbase5-dev qtdeclarative5-dev libkf5declarative-dev libkf5plasma-dev libkdecorations2-dev gettext

Second, enter the extracted directory and do all commands below one by one:
$ chmod +x 
$ ./

If everything is OK, the last success messages will be:
-- Installing: /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/qt5/qml/org/kde/appletdecoration/AuroraeButton.qml 
-- Installing: /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/qt5/qml/org/kde/appletdecoration/qmldir

Finally, you will find the widget named "Window Buttons" on your widget selector.

1. Add Global menu, top panel

Create one top panel as Application Menu Panel. This will give you basic global menu panel.

Add System Tray widget onto it.

Add Digital Clock widget as well.

Add Find widget on the most right.

2. Add dock, bottom panel

Delete default bottom panel and create a new one, shorter in length, centered in position. Put some application icons + add Icons-Only Task Manager widget.


3. Get rid of all obstacles

First obstacle is the hamburger button thing on one of corners. Its name is desktop toolbox. Hide it. Right-click on desktop > Configure Desktop > Tweaks > uncheck desktop toolbox option > OK.
Second obstacle is the hot corner, when you push your pointer to an edge of screen suddenly all active windows got previewed in one screen. Disable it. Go to System Settings > Desktop Behavior > Screen Edges > click the enabled corner > select No Action > OK.

4. Desktop theme ("Plasma Theme")

Next, we need a Plasma Theme called "Mojave CT Plasma Theme". Download it from, and open it by clicking 'Install From File' button from System Settings > Workspace Theme > Plasma Theme.  Enable it by selecting Mojave-CT and click OK.

5. Window decoration ("Aurorae Theme")

Next, we need window decoration theme called Mojave-CT Aurorae Theme. Download it from This window decoration theme is classified as "Aurorae Theme" as it uses Aurorae engine built-in KDE Plasma. Extract the .tar.gz file, and copy the folder into ~/.local/share/aurorae/themes/. Enable Mojave CT from System Settings > Application Style > Window Decorations.

Set the size to Normal.

6. Icon theme

Next, we mostly need icon theme that looks like macOS. As we use macOS Mojave version as model here, then download the Mojave-CT Icon Theme from here Extract the .tar.gz file, and copy the folder into ~/.local/share/icons/. Enable MacOs-sierra-CT from System Settings > Icons. 

7. Kvantum Theme ("Widget Style Theme")

This is the most crucial part: we need to enable Mojave-CT Kvantum Theme to make all user interface toolkits look like macOS and translucent. The theme in question is Mojave-CT Kvantum Theme, download it from Extract it, and you get a directory named mojave.

First, go to start menu > run Kvantum Manager > install theme > point it up to the extracted mojave directory > OK.

Second, still on Kvantum Manager, see Change Theme > select a theme > select mojave > select again MojaveLight > click use this theme.

Third, still on Kvantum Manager, see Configure Active Theme > see Compositing ... > and give about 30% and 30% for both Reduce window/menu opacity > Save. Close Kvantum Manager window.

Fourth, now go to System Settings > Application Style > Widget Style > set Widget style: to be kvantum and Apply.

Fifth, still on the Widget Style window, see Fine Tuning > set all options to No Text > Apply.

Up to this point, you should see your window being translucent like this:

8. macOS wallpaper

You can download many wallpapers from sources like 512pixels or OSwallpapers. Load the wallpaper from right-click on desktop > Configure Desktop > Add Image > select a wallpaper file or more > enable it. You see below as example I enabled Mac OS X Leopard version wallpaper.

9. Control Buttons on Left

Fortunately, Plasma is a very customizable desktop. Go to System Settings > Application Style > Windows Decorations > Buttons. There, you can easily rearrange your window outer frame components arrangement, including, position of the control buttons (close, maximize, minimize). Simply drag-and-drop them from right to the left position. Drag other icons to bottom to hide them.

(I moved them three to the left)

10. Window Title Applet, Top Panel

Next, we need to show app name on global menu. To achieve this, we need Window Title Applet. Open the widget selection menu > find Window Title Applet > drag and drop it onto top panel. Try to run Dolphin and see if its app name "Dolphin" looks right before the global menu. Try to run Gwenview or other applications to see whether the same app name shows correctly. I found good configuration like below:
  • - Icon: checked, show when available
  • - Font: bold
  • - Length: unchecked, fill available space
  • - Maximum: more or less 1000px
  • - Spacing: 10px
  • - Left & right margin: 10px
Don't forget to add Spacer after the global menu widget so it won't "run" too far away from Window Title Applet.  

Bonus! Alternatively, if you don't like this widget, you can use instead Application Title widget. It's without app icon and somewhat simpler.

11. Window Buttons Applet, Top Panel

Up to this point, when you maximize a window, the controls are still on the window's title bar and not joined onto top panel's global menu. It takes up more vertical space.

To join controls onto global menu, you add Window Buttons Applet onto it. I found good configuration like below:
  • Decoration: Mojave-CT
  • Show: is maximized
  • Environment: checked, Disable borders...
  • Metrics: checked, Use from decoration...
  • Left margin: please test it up yourself

After setting it up right away, you need to re-login to see the correct result.

12. Finish It All

You may need some trials and errors up to this point so finally you can have desktop in full Mojave-CT style. Notice the icons on the toolbar now are "icons-only" and not with text.

(The final result with Mojave wallpaper)

Closing Words

That's all. This tutorial is not perfect and I open the empty spaces for you to add and explore more. You can adjust, modify, reduce everything you like from this tutorial. I hope you find this tutorial fun and exciting. I hope this helps everybody especially in using Kvantum Manager on GNU/Linux. See you next time. Enjoy!

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.